Under Philadelphia’s current laws, it’s illegal for adults to ride bicycles on sidewalks in central business districts. Riders are also barred from using bicycles on sidewalks where bike lanes are clearly provided.
Philadelphia law allows bicyclists to ride on sidewalks only if they have been “permitted by official traffic-control devices.” Another exception to this rule is for riders who are younger than 13-years-old.
Instead of riding on sidewalks, local authorities urge bicyclists to ride in bike-protected lanes or near the curb on city streets. Always try to ride with the flow of traffic and use appropriate hand signals to indicate when you’re turning. If you’re riding at night, be sure to wear reflective gear and equip your bike with lights and reflectors.
Safety officials recommend children under the age of 12 to ride on the sidewalk alongside a parent or guardian. After children turn 13, however, it’s best for adults to ride their bicycles behind children in bike lanes or on city streets.
Although it’s illegal to ride your bike on sidewalks, feel free to walk on the sidewalk with your bicycle. For your safety, most experts also encourage bicyclists to walk with their bicycles across crosswalks instead of riding through them.
For more information on the rules surrounding riding bicycles on the sidewalk, be sure to read through Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Title 75, Chapter 35. You can access the specific section dealing with bicycles on sidewalks (§3508) by following this link.